Despite having to cancel our Pow Wow opportunity we were determined to make our way to this place, the most ancient living (still populated) Pueblo in existence. This meant following the Rio Grande up the mountain road to the small village of Taos and beyond to the Pueblo. What an extraordinary adobe construction it is. The earliest dwellings still standing are over 1000 years old and five stories high. The ground floor walls are over five feet thick to support the weight of the upper stories. Prior to the arrival of the Spanish invaders these constructions had no doors and windows with access only through the roof via ladders which were withdrawn to deny access to roaming bands of would be intruders. At a height of nearly 10,000 feet above sea level these dwellings require ongoing maintenance of their adobe exteriors to survive the harsh summers and bitter winters of this desert realm. Winters bring snow several feet deep which seemed hard to reconcile with the near 100 degrees farenheight of the day.
From there we took ‘The Enchanted Circle’ trail up north close to the Colorado state line and through a mountain pass to where D.H. Lawrence’s ashes are buried, as he had described this country as the place where his soul stood still. A slight detour took us to the Rio Grande Bridge spanning a drop of 600ft to the water. Apparently when first built it was known as the bridge to nowhere as there was no funding for road construction beyond the bridge’s end!! Eventually money was found and the road continued.
Amongst the photos is a little ground squirrel. We have seen prairie dogs scurrying in and around their mounded burrows. They stop and stand up on their back legs to check you out. Very comical!
The road back down to Santa Fe, known as ‘The High Road to Taos’, confusing we know, was a narrow winding road through quaint rustic villages. We are loving this saturation in the remnants of such ancient cultures. More to follow as we venture into the lands of the Zuni…